Sweater knitting has been my Waterloo.
I have knit sweaters before only to be insanely unhappy with my yarn choice, or my pattern choice, or the fit, or any combination of those items. Until this point, there has been no sweater success in my knitting life.
Lack of sweater success has not precluded me from looking at sweater patterns. I look at them with great longing and my queue on Ravelry has a more than a few waiting for inspiration to strike. There has been one in particular though that I have long loved: Thea Coleman’s Vodka Lemonade – it is just a classic sweater – timeless in its styling. However, I never found a yarn that truly inspired me – one that said, “I am your Vodka Lemonade – knit me into that.”
Then came Sasha Torres of Sheepspot and what she is doing is frankly, magnificent. She is creating some small batch, specialty yarns from unique fibers obtained locally from sustainably responsible shepherds, which she then hand dyes herself. The thought of a sweaters worth of yarn, custom dyed for my sweater was appealing and when she sent out the email about Clun Forest Sport yarn, I was one of the first in line to place my order.
I was able to finish the sweater for Maryland Sheep and Wool – which was perfect because it was my inaugural visit to this much-esteemed festival, so my sweater and I debuted together! It was even better that the Wool God smiled on the festival this year and it was not hot, but rather perfect sweater weather.
This sweater has gotten much use this month because either the weather has been deliciously cool or the AC has been on in the house. And I mean LOTS of use – in the 20 days since Maryland, I have worn the sweater at least 18 days. That is 18 days without being steamed, or a washed, or anything but me gently folding it at the end of the day so it is ready for me to put on again in the morning.
This sweater has not sagged, or bagged, nor is there any pilling at all. You can see a few creases at inside elbow from wear – but there is no other evidence that the sweater has been worn almost non-stop.
As you can see, the Clun Forest Sport gave me great stitch definition both in the seed stitch collar and at the lace accents at the front and back. After her soak and gentle blocking, the stitches all evened out in the miles of stockinette of the body and sleeves.
This was simply but, the perfect pairing of pattern and yarn. I used almost all of the seven skeins I purchased. The yarn is a 3-ply construction with a nice amount of twist, not too much, but just enough to give the yarn a bit of bounciness. I do not know where Sasha had the yarn processed, but they did a fantastic job. There was some vegetable matter in the yarn, but not enough to be a distraction at all. Sasha’s dye job was unbelievable – I did not alternate skeins, but rather knit them one at a time. The skeins were all identical – you cannot tell where one skein ends and another begins. Her color sense is so wonderful too – this is my perfect green. If you were looking for a quantity of yarn for a project, I would encourage you to visit her online shop and look at the unique things she has to offer. I recently got her “swatch kit” and have some ideas for another sweater – after all this is the Year of the Sheep and what better way to pay tribute to them than by knitting a sweater or ten.
And it seems that the Year of the Sheep is bringing me good fortune as I am almost done with my second Sweater of the Year – a simple V-neck pullover from Amy Herzog’s Custom Fit program – the seaming and neck-band are all I have left to finish. Look for a post soon on what an eye-opening process that has been.
I will leave you with the riot of color that is outside my back door and framing my porch. Now, if only the days allowed me uninterrupted time to sit and knit, surrounded by the gently buzzing bees and hummingbirds as they flit from blossom to blossom. Sadly, my life of leisure is interrupted by long periods of necessary work, because we all know there is no rest for the wicked. LOL
If you do not have a Sweater for the Ages, maybe you need to cast one on but in any event, enjoy the long holiday weekend, gentle readers.